Follow TV Tropes


Creepy Shadowed Undereyes

Go To

One way to make a character look creepy is to have deep, dark circles surrounding their eyes in the form of shadows or natural pigmentation, giving them a sinister, skull-like appearance. Often goes hand in hand with Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette and Evil Old Folks, combined with Evil Eyebrows.

A character that Looks Like Cesare tends to have these eyes, as well as The Insomniac, Creepy Loner Girl, and other deranged characters, since eye pigmentation can occur from lack of sleep (though if this is just temporary see Exhausted Eye Bags). Some characters may artificially try to replicate this effect with make-up, resulting in Excessive Evil Eyeshadow, or Guyliner, but it just doesn't have the same effect and is not the trope. (Though an artist or makeup person who overdoes the effect may make the character look a bit like they’ve been hitting the eyeshadow.)


Compare Face Framed in Shadow. When the whole eyes are in shadow, to the point that you can't make them out at all, it's Hidden Eyes. This effect may be induced or go hand in hand with a Kubrick Stare.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime And Manga 
  • Dr. Hiyari and daughter Hiyariko from Anpanman. They're both mad scientists. Thanks to the simple artwork of the series, their eyes express this by being a dark ring around their eyes (black for Dr. Hiyari, dark purple for Hiyariko).
  • Case Closed:
    • Shuichi Akai, FBI agent and good guy is drawn having eyes which have permanent bags underneath them that make him appear sleep deprived and other characters describe him as evil-eyed. It even becomes a Plot Point: Both Conan and the readers use his distinctive look to identify him when in disguise - and also relatives of his, such as his sister Masumi Sera, who has the same eyes, and Mary, the mysterious girl hiding in Sera's hotel room.
    • While jokes are made at her being a night owl, such as calling her an "evil-eyed yawning girl", Ai Haibara doesn't normally possess them. However, an arc that features a minor event of Haibara and Ayumi getting makeup put on them ends with Haibara looking like she has bags under her eyes while she's cleaning it off. Conan sees this and immediately notices a striking resemblance between Haibara and Mary.
  • Death Note:
    • L, an Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette, has circles around his eyes so dark, he has the fan nickname "Panda".
    • Light in the manga is shown to have dark circles around his eyes after he became Kira that magically disappear with his Memory Gambit.
  • My Hero Academia: Gentle and La Brava both have thick black lines around their eyes. They're only natural in La Brava's case, the result of countless nights since a middle school love rejection spent in front of a computer in deep depression. When she made the decision to approach Gentle, she wasn't able to do anything about them and hoped he wouldn't be put off. On the contrary, he accepted her gladly and, upon noticing how much she stressed over them regardless, took up drawing dark rings under his own eyes to emphasize their parntership. In the present the rings look almost like domino masks when coupled with their costumes.
  • Naruto: In the original Japanese, Gaara's darkly circled eyes are expressly stated to be Tanuki-like marks he was born with, signifying the animal the Tailed Beast sealed within him resembles, much like the way Naruto has whisker-marks resembling those of a fox (whose own Tailed Beast is based on the Kitsune). In the English dub, they were explained to be caused by his insomnia, which not only makes sense (rather than just assuming the audience wouldn't know what a Tanuki was or just calling it a "raccoon demon") but significantly ups the creep-factor.
  • School Zone Girls: High school girl Fuji was either born with tremendous bags under her eyes, or she developed one hell of a psycho stare after spending every waking moment at the arcade trying to win a stuffed animal from a crane game.
  • Colin from Two Keys who is an Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette with huge dark circles around his eyes, which sometimes double as Hidden Eyes, reflecting both his dark past and mysteriousness.


    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Betelgeuse from, well, Beetlejuice has dark rings around his eyes. This is actually due to the fact that Tim Burton originally conceived the character as having no eyes at all but changed his mind after noticing how expressive Michael Keaton's were.

  • In Twilight, all the vampires are described as having dark 'bruised' shadows under their eyes, implied to be a symptom of never sleeping.

    Live Action TV 

  • This seems to be a trademark of Vocaloid P Vs animated by Sidu. She is known for her dark illustrations, and as such several of the characters she draws have these shadows under their eyes.

    Video Games 
  • Loghain in Dragon Age: Origins has extremely dark circles under his eyes. Though his high stress life makes it totally reasonable for him to have them, the cartoonish appearance of his dark circles has been the subject of much mockery, and even lead many players to correctly predict his treachery and resultant villain status. Some of them were apparently so irritated by the raccoon rings around his eyes that they created mods to tone them down.
  • Colonel Radec removes his goggles at one point in Killzone 2, showing that he is quite pale and unhealthy looking with pronounced bags and redness under his eyes.
  • Members of the Parasite Unit in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain have faded inkblot-like markings around their eyes, caused by the parasites living under their skin. This, combined with their paleness and erratic movements, reinforces their "undead" appearance.

    Visual Novels 
  • Prosecutor Simon Blackquill in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies has dark streaks under both eyes. Combined with his dark hair and pale skin, they make him look creepy, but also somewhat pitiable; the artbook states they're the result of him crying while in prison and never bothering to wipe the tears.

  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: Väinö, the elderly solitary guardian mage of a Forbidden Zone border whose only regular companions are his seagull helpers, has eyes that are beady and have pronounced outlines compared to the rest of the cast.

    Web Original 
  • In Half-Life but the AI is Self-Aware, the main antagonist Benrey is depicted in the thumbnail art and in fan works with dark shadows under his eyes to distinguish him from other security guards.

    Western Animation 
  • Several Danny Phantom villains have dark circles under their eyes for the look of evil, starting with Vlad.
  • Looney Tunes shorts directed by Chuck Jones often have characters gain an eye shadow if they're really angry or stressed.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: Akumatized victims almost always have a red stained patch around their eyes. A handful of corner casesnote  suggest that this coloration represents their negative emotions.
  • Mike's evil personality Mal from Total Drama All Stars has two main distinguishing features from his good alter: his bangs covering one eye and the shadows under the eyes. When he impersonates Mike by putting up his hair, the shadowy eyes remain as a visual cue that it's Mal.